His books don’t sell in Calcutta, admits the silver-haired, soft-spoken psychoanalyst candidly. So his publishers did not think of launching Sudhir Kakar’s latest work of fiction, The Crimson Throne, a saga of politics, battles, plots, corruption, intrigue, murder, sex and lust, all in good measure, in Calcutta. But he was in the city for interviews, courtesy Penguin India, his publishers. In the lobby of his hotel on a wet July afternoon with the rain forming rivulets on the glass façade, he held forth on what made a potboiler.
“Historical novels are always successful if there is a correct balance of fact and fiction,” says Kakar, who has penned The Ascetic of Desire and Mira and The Mahatma. The downfall of the Mughal empire, his latest theme, provides such a rich mix of ingredients, sibling rivalry, murderous plots, uprisings, corruption for a novel, he says. It was also the complexity of the characters that drew Kakar.
“Take Shah Jahan for example, someone with a great aesthetic sense, a bigot till Jahanara and Dara Shukhoh changed his way of thinking. His sexual escapades after his wife’s death make him an intriguing character. So also Aurangzeb with his cold and calculated ways, his imperviousness and his bigotry,” says Kakar. “In contrast, his brother Dara Shukhoh is more of a Sufi saint, who finds commonalities in all religions and also translates the Upanishads that finds its way to Europe.”
Full report here Telegraph